We spoke to Master in Sustainable Business & Innovation alumna Veronika Bitter about what it’s like to work at a leading consulting firm. Veronika is from Austria and holds a bachelor’s degree in international business administration. While at EADA, she participated in the B-Impact Team initiative, working as a consultant for Tunga.IO, an innovative transaction platform based in Uganda that links African developers to international software projects. She currently works in management consulting, primarily on sustainability and digital transformation topics, as an Associate at Kearney in Vienna, Austria.
What attracted you to your current position as Senior Business Analyst at Kearney? What is an average day like for you?
During my master’s at EADA, I participated in Kearney’s Women Career Lounge, giving me the chance to gain insights into consulting and talk to consultants first-hand about their journey and experiences. This also allowed me to learn about Kearney’s open, authentic and supportive company culture. Besides my general interest in the industry, the Women Career Lounge recruiting event was what motivated me to apply for a consultant position at Kearney.
As for “the average day”, during COVID-19 times, there hasn’t been such a day. Depending on the project set up, we are switching between working fully on-site, fully remote and increasingly towards a hybrid model. This can mean online workshops and client meetings, doing research, creating analyses and presentations but also meeting for virtual/in-person coffee chats and team dinners. While sometimes this alternation is challenging, I also love the flexibility and excitement it brings to my day-to-day life.
For me, the most exciting part of the job is the constant learning and growth opportunities in several of my areas of interest and having the opportunity to do project-based work for some of the biggest corporations in a variety of industries. It is also very motivating to work and learn from people with expertise in different fields.
What is the most challenging part of your current position? And the most rewarding?
The positive impact that we are creating for our client is one of most rewarding aspects of my work. For me, the support, continuous feedback and appreciation of my past teams, managers and mentors are also very rewarding and help me grow both professionally and personally.
In general, the feeling of “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” and with getting out of one’s comfort zone is both the most challenging and rewarding part of my current position. At the beginning of a new project, a lot will be new and challenging – new industry, client, team, project tasks, location, etc. –, but as the project moves forward and you overcome these challenges bit by bit, it feels really great.
How do you integrate sustainable practices and values into your work?
At Kearney, we integrate sustainability at different levels, from internal practices around sustainable office initiatives, mental health and DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) efforts to external client-related work delivering impact through projects around climate, circularity, social impact, sustainability strategy and pro bono work.
My personal favorite example is Kearney’s support of the “Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis” (German Sustainability Award) for many years as the methodology partner, helping with the evaluation of hundreds of applicants around innovative, exciting sustainability solutions/projects.
How do you use what you learned at EADA in your current position?
EADA’s practical problem-solving approach through the numerous case-studies and the final project challenge, as well as the leadership modules at the Residential Training campus, equipped me with a broad skill set that I can now apply at Kearney.
My experience at EADA learning how to approach complex problems, looking at challenges from various (stakeholder) perspectives and finding a solution together in a team, helps me understand a client’s challenges, analyse new industries or new business areas quickly and, eventually, support the client along the project towards a positive outcome.
I think, however, the greatest learnings gained at EADA come from the soft skills modules, which shaped my personal development, teamwork, feedback culture and leadership skills.
What advice do you have for students looking to get into the field of consulting?
As management consulting is a rather broad, yet competitive field, I recommend talking to different people who are already in consulting, networking and asking questions at recruiting events. This will help get an initial idea of the industry to see if it is the right fit. It would also be beneficial to connect with like-minded peers to exchange thoughts and prepare for the application process together.
Additionally, I recommend finding a location and/or field that you are excited about and, based on that, looking into the different related consulting firms. Besides location and focus areas, the company culture, values and people really make the difference on a daily basis – so getting to know some firms and their people prior to applying or accepting an offer will help to find the right position.